I really love teaching drawing, as it involves helping people to see and connect to the world around them in a completely new and experiential, almost magical, way. I can get quite evangelical about it sometimes, as my students soon find out!
Both complete beginners and people who have been drawing for years find learning to draw in a right-brained way quite a revelation.
When I was at art college many (many!) years ago we were tutored by practising artists. Their fields of expertise differed and we covered various subjects with them, from typography to architecture, printing to photography, anatomy to creative writing. And all the time we DREW. We were sent out to locations all over London – I remember freezing in the sleet in Bankside, getting damp and miserable drawing canal boats, drawing in the V&A and the Natural History Museum...... and one piece of invaluable advice in particular still echoes in my mind.
Negative spaces are the spaces in between and around subjects, the ‘air’ spaces, the spaces that we don’t even notice, let alone try to look at. In our left-brained way, we focus so hard on battling with the subject itself, trying to make the shapes look right, that we don’t realise there is a much simpler way of drawing them; if you are having a problem drawing something, draw the shape NEXT to it instead. By not focusing on the ‘thing’ we are trying to draw and shifting our attention to the shapes and ‘nothingness’ around, inside and outside it, we are sharpening our perception of reality and seeing much more deeply and intensely. Really seeing the patterns that shapes make in space shifts your focus away from what you think something should look like and onto what it actually looks like. This really makes drawing easier.
We have so much mental information stored about chairs, for example, that our helpful left brains tell us that we don’t need to look at them very carefully to draw them. We know that they have four legs of the same length, don’t we? Well, really look at one and notice that the closest legs actually appear longer than the others!
Practice this idea by making some drawings of only the negative shapes around your subject instead of the subject itself.....
I have two classes running at the moment – one is the Saturday Morning Drawing Club, from 10am – 12.30pm in my Manikata studio, and the other in the fab gardens of Villa Bologna in Attard on Friday mornings, where we draw, sketch and paint. Both classes are suitable for adults of all levels. For more information and to contact me please click HERE.
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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